Ruling suspends new National Frequency Plan, protects essential, free of charge satellite safety services
The Administrative Court in the Netherlands has ruled in Inmarsat’s favour in a case brought by the satellite communications company, which aimed to reaffirm the country’s legal commitments to the provision of satellite safety services from Burum in Friesland, in the north of the Netherlands.
The hearing took place on 17 June 2021 and the verdict supports Inmarsat’s position.
The court has ruled to suspend the Dutch Government’s update to the National Frequency Plan that reallocated spectrum used by Inmarsat’s C-band (3.5GHz) for essential safety and distress services to 5G telecoms from 1 September 2022. The court has also recommended that the Dutch Government hold talks to find a solution or risk the full court proceedings annulling the National Frequency Plan altogether. The timing for these proceedings is a matter for the court.
“Inmarsat welcomes the ruling of the Dutch Administrative Court acknowledging the fact that the company’s vital communication services to protect lives at sea must be protected,” said Brad Swann, General Counsel at Inmarsat. “Inmarsat looks forward to working with the Dutch Government to deliver a solution that does not compromise satellite safety services.
“Given the reasoning in the judgment, Inmarsat expects that safeguarding the continuity of vital satellite safety services to protect lives at sea will be a top priority for all parties involved going forward and that a solution can be found. We are pleased that the vital safety services that protect the lives of 1.6 million seafarers worldwide daily delivered via Inmarsat satellites will not now be put at risk by the change to the National Frequency Plan. Inmarsat does not seek to halt the roll-out of 5G in the Netherlands and it can still proceed alongside the maintenance of essential satellite safety services.”